Orientation Programme on 'Wildlife and Forest Conservation Laws' for Judiciary in Jammu, (2nd and 3rd March 2024)

Posted on 05 March 2024
© WWF-India
Centre of Environment Law, WWF-India in collaboration with the J&K Judicial Academy organized a two day orientation programme on “Wildlife and Forest Conservation Laws” for Juridical officers and officers of the J&K Forest Department.  
Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most point of India and is an ecologically sensitive region. It is blessed with snow-capped mountains, rich forests, alpine meadows and serene lakes, all which provide a thriving habitat for an abundant variety of flora and fauna. Increasing global temperature, climate change, urbanization and haphazard development had raised a multitude of environmental challenges for the region.
The objective of the orientation program was to sensitize the judiciary and forest officers about issues related to wildlife conservation. Both the judicial officers and forest officers are the cornerstone of conservation and play a significant role in forest and biodiversity preservation. The two-day orientation programme provided an overview of the various environment challenges present in J&K, why addressing these challenges is important and the role law, policy and judiciary play in addressing these challenges and championing conservation. 
The programme was e-inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Justice N Kotiswar Singh, Hon’ble Chief Justice, High Court of J&K and Ladakh. The Chief Justice, in his inaugural address, discussed the importance of sensitizing judicial and forest officers to environmental laws. He highlighted that environmental degradation is mostly a result of human activities and that educating the masses and officers is an effective way to restore the ecological balance. The Chief Justice also noted that he had been present in Guwahati when WWF-India had conducted an orientation programme on wildlife and forest laws for judicial officers in the Gauhati High Court.
Ms. Moulika Arabhi, Advisor, Centre for Environmental Law, WWF India introduced the orientation programme. She emphasized the need for dedicated environmental courts. She added that environmental laws is a system of complex and interlocking statutes, common law, treaties, conventions regulations and policies which seek to protect the natural environment against human activities.
Justice N. Kotiswar Singh was joined by Shri Roshan Jaggi, IFS, Principle Chief Conservator of Forest and HoFF, J&K and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman, Governing Committee for J&K Judicial Academy as key note speakers in the inaugural address. The running theme of the inaugural address was to recognize the impending environment calamity in J&K and the role of law in pursing environment conservation.
On the first day, after the inaugural session, Dr. M.K. Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forest, Jammu East, conducted a technical session providing an overview on the various environmental issues and challenges in Jammu. This was followed by a session taken by Dr. Amit Dubey, Head-Wetlands, WWF-India where he discussed the importance of high-altitude wetlands and the various initiatives taken to tackle their conservation issues.
Thereafter, Dr. Saket Badola, IFS, CCF, Uttrakhand provided insight on illegal wildlife trade scenarios in India and the various concerns and solutions for the same. The concluding session of the day was conducted by Hon’ble Shri Justice Madan B. Lokur, Judge, Supreme Court of Fiji, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India where he provided an insight on the role of judiciary in upholding environmental rule of law.
Day two opened with a session conducted by Ms. Moulika Arabhi, Advisor, Centre of Environmental Law and Mr. Tejas Singh Kapoor, Programme Officer, CEL, WWF-India, providing an overview on policy and legal tools on  environment, forest and wildlife with a focus on judicial precedents. The second and final technical session was taken by Mr. Rohit Rattan, Associate Coordinator, Western Himalayas Conservation Programme, WWF-India highlighting the conservation issues and challenges in Jammu ranging from plastic waste management to climate change and wildlife conservation. The orientation programme concluded with a question and answer, feedback and valedictory session.  
The event has been highly covered by various news media outlets. A link for a few of the articles can be found below: 
  1. J K Monitor, “Judicial Academy, WWF India Organise Orientation Programme On ‘Wildlife and Forest Conservation Laws’ ”, https://jkmonitor.org/climate-and-environment/judicial-academy-wwf-india-organize-orientation-prog-on-wildlife-and-forest-conservation-laws 
  2. Greater Kashmir, “Wildlife and Forest Conservation Laws Judicial Academy’s 2 day orientation programme concludes”, https://www.greaterkashmir.com/governance/wildlife-and-forest-conservation-laws-judicial-academys-2-day-orientation-program-concludes/
  3. Daily Excelsior. “Need to strike balance between economic growth, environmental protection : CJ” , https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/need-to-strike-balance-between-economic-growth-environmental-protection-cj/ 
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